Seanad Éireann (the Irish Senate) has rather unusual (unique?) constituencies.

43 elected from five special panels of nominees (known as Vocational Panels) by an electorate consisting of TDs (member of Dáil Éireann), senators and local councillors. Nomination is restrictive for the panel seats with only Oireachtas members and designated 'nominating bodies' entitled to nominate. Each of the five panels consists, in theory, of individuals possessing special knowledge of, or experience in, one of five specific fields. In practice the nominees are party members, often, though not always, failed or aspiring Dáil candidates. Wikipedia

The remaining eleven senators are directly appointed by the Taoiseach.

The vocational panels and the university constituencies are certainly odd. Are they actually unique?

2 Answers 2


The Lebanese Parliament is constituted in such a way as to guarantee each of the predominant faiths in Lebanon a certain amount of representation. As such, apportionment is made in light of the various strengths of various Christian and Muslim groups' participation in the election. This is called the "Taif Agreement".


The University constituencies are modelled on the University constituencies in use in Britain in 1922 when Ireland became independent. They were located in the Dáil until moving to the Seanad in 1938.

The British university constituencies were abolished in 1950, while Queen's University Belfast retained representation in the House of Commons of Northern Ireland (i.e. Stormont) until its abolition in 1969.

British seats were reorganised in 1918. Before 1918: Cambridge (2 MPs), Oxford (2 MPs), Dublin (2 MPs), Edinburgh/St Andrews (1 MP, shared), Glasgow/Aberdeen (1 MP, shared), London (1 MP).

After 1918: Cambridge (2), Oxford (2), London (1), Combined English (2), Combined Scottish (3), Queen's Belfast (1), Wales (1) - and Dublin (2) until 1922; 1 MP was elected in 1918 for National University Ireland, but sat in the First Dáil as an abstentionist. The House of Commons of Southern Ireland had four MPs from each of the two universities, of which the four from NUI were Sinn Féin abstentionists and the four from Trinity were the only unionists in that house.

Note that university constituencies are (and were) elected by the graduates of the university, not the current students; in the case of Oxford and Cambridge, only those holding an MA.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .